Even among runners, lower back pain tends to be far too common, and popular treatments include medication, surgery and physical therapy, and of course, the tried-and-true methods of heat and ice. But new research suggests you may want to add mindful movement—such as tai chi or yoga—into the mix, and these choices may even replace traditional treatment options.
In a recent review published in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice, researchers looked at 32 peer-reviewed studies on movement-based interventions on lower back pain specifically, with results ranging from pain reduction to lowering psychological distress, depression, and anxiety.
They found that yoga, in particular, showed longer-term reductions in lower back pain, while tai chi reduced severe lower back pain for men in their 20s. For both men and women across a larger age range, tai chi was also effective for lowering pain intensity and pain-related disability.